Swallows in the Birdhouse ($15.90; March 1996; 32 pp.; 1-56294-182-8): A fictionalized treatment of the arrival of tree swallows at a wooden nesting box built by two children, Hayley and Martin; they retreat from the text after the first three pages and thereafter appear only in the illustrations. Ardent nature-lovers may prefer their information more straight up than this offering allows, but budding ornithologists will be lured in and find plenty to pore over: not only the details of the swallows' stay, but the sculptured look of Brickman's pretty watercolor collages. (Picture book. 5-8) . . .